The Rising Cost of Education
Between the 1999-2000 and 2009-2010 school years, state expenditures for public schools rose from $31.6 billion to $55.7 billion (76%), whereas enrollment in public schools increased 21% from 4 million students to 4.8 million. Why is the cost of education rising faster than enrollment?
The cost of education has risen for three primary reasons:
Inflationary Increases — Over the ten-year period beginning in 1999, inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index, increased 29.3%. This implies that had the enrollment stayed exactly the same over that ten year period, expenditures would have had to increase from $31.6 billion to $40.9 billion just to maintain the same purchasing power.
Demographic Changes — Texas has long recognized that certain student populations are more costly to educate and have even written funding weights for those populations into law. The number of students requiring additional funding to educate to state standards has increased sharply, driving costs higher. While the overall student population increased by 21% between 1999-2000 and 2009-10, the number of economically disadvantaged students rose 50%, and now makes up 59% of total student enrollment. Further, students with limited English proficiency rose 47%. Source: “Enrollment in Texas Public Schools 2009-10,” Texas Education Agency
State Directives and Mandates — Every session, the Texas Legislature makes laws that cost school districts money. The most popular directive by the state over the past decade has been mandatory teacher salary increases. In 1999, the state mandated a $3,000 pay increase for every teacher. In 2001, the state provided new health care benefits and funded a $1,000 per teacher insurance supplement. In 2005, the state mandated a $2,500 pay increase for teachers. In 2007, there was a teacher raise of $23.63 per weighted student, which was followed in 2009 by a teacher raise of $60 per weighted student. Many districts, as a result of these state-mandated raises, felt compelled to offer raises to non-teacher staff simply for purposes of fairness. This document further illustrates cost drivers to Texas public schools.
Read more about the increasing cost of education here.
August 28, 2012